Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just Breathe

Today I had a 'just breathe' moment. One of those moments that I really wanted to lose it. I could hear the sigh and anger tinted words rising to the surface...

It was 1:30. We were late for naptime already. We had had a busy day already, gotten up and straight out to make it to MOPS at 9:00am, (and let me tell you, if you don't already know, getting 4 kids under 3 out the door by 8:45am is quite the ordeal.) But back to 1:30pm, I had just put the two babies down and headed into my daughter's room, ready to power through two stories, a few tuck ins, and get to the breakfast and lunch dishes... but instead I found the two 3 year old girls laying on the floor next to the bed. Then I hear, "Bridget, look!" from my little 3 year old day buddy. My daughter looks up with wide eyes and says, "It was a asklident" and goes back to scraping the ginormous pile of teeny tiny fish food balls, which when you scrape them up on carpet, if you didn't know this, they actually just fling and bounce to amazing heights.

What I wanted to do and what I did were two very distinct things. My frustration lies in the fact that we had already had quite a few discussions on how she wasn't supposed to move her fish tank, (oh, yes, my 3 year olds like to show that they are big and can carry it), and she wasn't supposed to feed them without mommy or daddy. Yet, here we sit, amidst a giant pile of fish ball food.

What I did do was sit down, put my head in my hands, and just breathe. I took a few deep breaths and thought about what I should say. When I raised my head all I said was, 'this is so sad' to which I glimpsed my daughters eyes grow big again. She said, 'NO!' in her scared little voice. And I just repeated it. I didn't get mad, I didn't lecture, and I didn't threaten. I let her feel the consequences of her own actions as we cleaned... and cleaned and cleaned. Finally I took out the vacuum and sucked up what we couldn't gather.

Yes, our nap was very late. Yes, we lost a few bucks of fish food. Yes, technically my daughter broke a rule. And while I was vacuuming I did contemplate taking her fish away. I contemplated making her do chores to pay me back for the lost food. Those are all very natural consequences I could have delivered with much empathy. But, you know, I just decided to not mention it again and see what happens.

And I feel good about it. If she decides to feed her fish again without asking, I guess I will have to take them away for awhile, or forever. And that will really be sad. But, as for today, I respected her desire to be big. I respected her real feelings of wanting to grow up. And, most importantly, I respected her as a person. A real person with a brain, personality, and wishes all of her own. She may only be 3, but I know when she says, "I climbed a mountain (which by the way means a grassy hill) without a mommy or a daddy!" She is really saying, "I am my own person! I can do things on my own!" and if that means she wants to experiment feeding her fish, well I guess I will help her clean up her mistake with love, and we can learn together.

I am so happy I took a moment to just breathe.

No comments:

Post a Comment